Family members and kinsmen of late premier of the defunct Eastern Region Dr Miçhael Iheonukara Okpara held a prayer session on Sunday 17, December 2023 beside his tomb in his mausoleum located in his moderate country home premises at Umuegwu Okpuala Ohuhu in Umuahia North Council, Abia state for his continued peaceful repose.
Late Okpara who was born in 25 December , 1920, died on 17, December 1984 at the age of 64 years after serving meritoriously as premier, from 1959 to 1966 the defunct region now split into Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Cross River, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo and Rivers States.
During the session , the Methodist Church Bishop , Umuahia East Dr Ikechukwu Emezi Nkulo who was represented by Rev. Chukwuemeka Emesie, prayed God to give the region and Nigeria more leaders in the mold of late Dr Okpara.
He prayed “may the wishes and prayers of late Dr Okpara who served humanity devotedly and selflessly continue to live with and work for us. May his Tomb be for freedom and salvation with the Michael Okpara Foundation and the things supposed to be done for its success be done well by all”.
Speaking after the prayer session , the late Premier’s son Chief Uzodinma Okpara announced that the Dr Michael Okpara Foundation established in his honour has planed to build his befitting Mausoleum.
He added that as part of its 2024 agenda
“The Foundation will institute two endowments in Agricultural Research and Industrial Development for which it is seeking collaboration with Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, Abia state and one other university, to re- orientate the young generation and posterity to enable them know how these legacies positively impacted the region with the view to finding when, where and what went wrong after his demise”.
According to Chief Okpara, the research results would gather why succeeding governments have failed or found it difficult to continue with those policies and vision and what can be done to revive them namely ; jobs creation, eradication of poverty and misery through massive industrial and agricultural revolution
It would be recalled that the late premier has been widely remembered and acclaimed for the massive impacts he made in agriculture and industrialization of the defunct eastern region.
The late internationally renowned Economist Dr Pius Okigbo had asserted that late premier Okpara ” lived ahead of his time” but that his successors have not sustained his accomplishments many years after his death.
Chief Uzodinma Okpara also said that the reasons for not sustaining or matching his late father’s numerous and various accomplishments should be probed and addressed to change the scenario and move forward.
He indicated that the Foundation which has Mr Christian Igodo, the author of late Dr Okpara’s Biography, as Executive Secretary and Projects Co- ordinator, will in it’s drive to revive late Okpara’s vision, engage experts to ” promote researches and knowledge in agriculture and industrial development.
Doing so he said, would engender replicating the developmental revolution associated with the late premier Okpara’s era which reportedly, according to ‘Harvard Review’, made then Eastern Region of Nigeria under late Okpara as the fastest growing economy in the world.
On this day the 17th day of December, the legendary M.I Okpara went home to be with his maker, he was reputed to be a leader who led by example and throughout the history of Nigeria was one of the most resolute and selfless leaders ever experienced till date.
A visionary leader whose vision revolutionised infrastructural development, agriculture, industry, commerce, education, peace, unity and mass employment across the then Eastern Region comprising of todays Abia, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Enugu, Cross River, Imo and Rivers states.
The medical doctor who became the premier of Eastern Region was born on December 25, 1920 at Umuegwu Okpuala Afugiri Ohuhu in Umuahia North LGA, Abia State and died on the 17th of December 1984.
A solemn remembrance ceremony was today held by family and friends in his country home Umuegwu Okpuala in Ohuhu Umauhia North LGA.
May The Soul of the Great MI Power Continue to Rest In Peace.